Review : APOCALYPTICA – "7th Symphony"

Apocalyptica7th Symphony
Release Date: 2010Aug24 (US)
Label: Jive / Sony
Rating: 3/5

Apocalyptica has always been a daring, enigmatic band since their debut back in 1996. For the first seven minutes of this, their seventh album, the band begins by reminding the critics/longtime fans (like myself) just how accomplished their compositions can be. In order to prove their legitimacy, they need to now, more than ever before. Because when you are on a larger label like Jive—best known for hip-hop in the 80s, boy band pop in the 90s, and currently their next-heaviest band is Bullet for my Valentine—it goes without saying that they require easy marketability. 7th Symphony is made to be their most accessible album to date.

I was actually introduced on their sophomore effort, Inquisition Symphony. I remember being particularly impressed with how they were able to gurgle out a distorted “Refuse/Resist” from their cellos during the chorus of that Sepultura adaptation. But in the albums to come, we saw the band go through many changes. They began to release all-original content, include vocalists, and added drums after the departure of Max Lilja. These changes have met with mixed results.

The guest musician trend from Worlds Collide continues, this time with more dubious results. Slayer‘s Dave Lombardo returns to drum on one track (“2010”), unsurprisingly one of the best here. “Bring Them to Light” features Gojira‘s Joe Duplantier, on a song slated for the last album, but was re-recorded satisfactorily for 7th Symphony. Listen to those two, and not the weakly-titled “End of Me”, “Not Strong Enough”, and “Broken Pieces” which weigh down the album with interchangeable pop melodies that are scarcely composed by the band. Depending on your perspective, this may be a redeeming factor.

Thankfully, Apocalyptica are strong finishers. “Sacra” drips with brooding melancholy, and deliberate shifts into heavier territory. “Rage of Poseidon” dares to top the epic opener as the longest song on the album. Its tentative emergence gets swept through churning tides and swallowed into chasms before beaching in areas almost alien to their origins. This new territory is now where we find the band as a whole, and while I wish they were navigating more metallic waters, I still have high hopes for this unique Finnish phenomenon.

FCC: 2, 8
Try: 1, 4, 8, 9, 10

01. At the Gates of Manala
02. End of Me (featuring Gavin Rossdale of Bush)
03. Not Strong Enough (featuring Brent Smith of Shinedown)
04. 2010 (featuring Dave Lombardo of Slayer)
05. Beautiful
06. Broken Pieces (featuring Lacey Mosley of Flyleaf)
07. On the Rooftop With Quasimodo
08. Bring Them to Light (featuring Joseph Duplantier of Gojira)
09. Sacra
10. Rage of Poseidon

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